Dumb Jocks at Stanford?

Years ago, several of the wiser lights on LetsRun were going on about how talented jocks had an easier time being accepted at Stanford; how they were coddled in the classroom; and how they were actually pretty dumb.

I just had to laugh. I had three roommates my freshman and sophomore years at Stanford who played sports.

My freshman roommate played football. We didn’t stay in touch beyond that year, but I believe he majored in Poly Sci and graduated on time. At one point, he ran for student body president.

My second year I roomed with cousins, Jim Youd and Don Buehler. They were part of a large Buehler clan that spawned jocks who worked their butts off in sports and academics. Jim lettered in water polo and won the heavyweight class in intramural wrestling. Don was an All-American water polo player and a member of the Stanford wrestling team. Don turned down a Rhodes Scholarship to enter medical school at Columbia. Jim still works as a consulting engineer. Don retired several years ago after a nerve problem prevented him from continuing his work as a successful heart surgeon in La Jolla.

Don’s cousin Jack lived across from me in Wilbur Hall. Jack was 6’7″, weighed probably 270 lbs., and engaged in an ongoing war with the guys in the room above him. When they hung a burning trash bucket outside his window, he pounded a heavily loaded barbell on the ceiling. Jack had a successful career as a physician.

If you think you’ve heard the Buehler name, you’re probably thinking of Rachel Buehler, former captain of the USA women’s soccer teams that won Gold at two Olympic Games. She’s Don Buehler’s daughter. Oh, and she was another dumb Stanford jock – 4.0 in human biology, now in medical school.

All of which proves that if you’re a dumb jock you’re more likely to end up on LetsRun than at Stanford.

There are no end of inspiring stories about Stanford athletes who’ve excelled in sports and school. I love to read about people who show us what we can achieve if we apply ourselves, open our hearts, and never give up.

Here are some links to some reasonably short, engrossing feature stories that I’m sure you will enjoy:

Legacy of a Survivor: A Stanford hurdler’s family saga.

Stone Cold (about Stanford swimmer Gray Umbach who carries a 3.99 cumulative GPA in chemical engineering)

Challenge Accepted (about Owen Marecic, former Stanford football star on offense and defense who’s now doing medical research)

I’m finding it harder to write the kind of long, thoughtful pieces I formerly scribbled. But for about a year now, I’ve bookmarked articles that inspired me in one way or another, because they dealt with people who’ve succeeded in sports with the help of expansive attitudes of selflessness, teamwork, and guiding others. This is a first stab to see if I can leverage those gems to offer more frequent posts without spending the endless hours it takes to write and polish the longer pieces; time that my present schedule no longer allows. Stay tuned.

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